Thursday, 13 May 2010

Brief review: Get Connected by Brenda Aloff

Get Connected (2007) Brenda Aloff

This large format book with accompanying DVD had sparked my interest when discussed on the DogRead Yahoo discussion group. From the title and sample pages it seemed like a really interesting proposition – a training text which explicitly included focus on the relationship between handler and dog. Some of the exercises are interesting, and as always Brenda’s descriptions of training terminology are excellent.

However I was uncomfortable with what I felt to be a needlessly confrontational approach to handling, particularly with dogs that were giddy, over excited or lacking in boundaries. Viewing the DVD confirmed this – while clearly her methods produce results, they are not techniques that I particularly choose to use. For example she uses confinement and firm stroking/rubbing with an apparently anxious dog until he ‘submits’ and calms down.

Viewing the video left me feeling she had deliberately ignored many of the dog’s calming signals, and the whole process could have been managed in a much les confrontational manner. This was a useful learning experience and has helped me to clarify my own feelings, preferences and beliefs within dog training.

Short review: Bringing Light to Shadow by Pam Dennison

Pamela Dennison “Bringing Light to Shadow: Diary of a dog trainer”

This relatively slim book is well written, comprehensive and quite honestly helped to change my entire relationship with Finn – my troubled rescue collie – at a time when I felt we were totally out of options. Part confessional, part narrative and part educational resource, this book talks the reader through the journey to rehabilitate a people-reactive border collie named Shadow. By documenting daily training, progress, mistakes and observations Pam gives fantastic examples of how to read Shadow’s body language, the thought involved in setting up productive training sessions, and helps the reader to appreciate the work involved in rehabilitation.
As a cross-over trainer herself, Pam explains her choices of positive training methods and includes terminology boxes. This was inspiring both to read as an example of what is possible, and also because it encouraged me to start journaling and reflecting on my work with my own dog. Between this and some contact via email with Pam, I was able to move from a confrontational relationship with Finn towards one of cooperation and understanding.

Monday, 10 May 2010

May 2010 Seminars: Nutritional Choices (Wednesday): Confidence for Handlers of Reactive Dogs (Thursday)

Wednesday 26th May 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Acomb Parish Church Hall, Front Street, York.

“Canine Nutrition and Feeding Choices” £5 including refreshments

This informal evening will include an introduction to some of the varied ways to feed your canine companion from home cooked food to high grade processed food to raw feeding. We have invited experienced owners with particular knowledge in these areas to share the details with you, and answer any questions you may have.

Feel free to bring along your dog if they can relax around other dogs and people. There will be tea/coffee and biscuits available, and plenty of time to ask questions about feeding your dogs.

Thursday 27th May 7.00pm to 8.30pm

Our Lady’s Church Hall, Cornlands Road, York.

“The human at the end of the leash – staying calm for your reactive dog” £5

Living with a fearful, anxious or reactive dog can try anyone’s patience! We spend time at home, on walks and in classes teaching our dogs how to relax, remain calm in difficult situations and respond with thought rather than instinct. This seminar is all about YOU J

Practical advice on how to teach yourself to relax, remain calm in difficult situations and quickly change your perceptions of handling your dog. These are vital skills for anyone who has a nervous or reactive dog in their household. Experienced Human Givens practitioners will talk us through the effects of stress on the human brain, and help us to practice the key skills of relaxing and remaining calm. There will be tea/coffee and biscuits available, and plenty of time to ask individual questions.

To book onto these seminars please email/text or phone Morag ASAP

07786 864 700,

Forthcoming Seminars: Rally-Obedience & Focus on Clicker Training & More Massage Therapy

All profit from seminar evenings is donated to Wiccaweys Rescued Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs